Why TRAI’s next few years under RS Sharma will be stormy

Ram Sewak Sharma, chairman of India’s telecoms regulator TRAI, who took on global tech giants Facebook and Apple and supported 5G spectrum auction, has received two more years in his assignment, which was due to end on Friday.
TRAI chairman
RS Sharma, as chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), shaped rules barring internet service providers from having different prices for accessing different parts of the Web, in a setback to Facebook’s plan to roll out a pared-back free internet service, Reuters reported.

TRAI’s net neutrality guidelines were accepted by majority of the industry because it curbed the powers of telecom operators to

Recently, TRAI came out with its recommendations on pricing for the forthcoming spectrum auction for mobile services. 5G spectrum prices, recommended by TRAI, did not attract any positive response from telecom operators as the timing of the auction is not in line with their expectations.

TRAI has also released its domestic telecom equipment manufacturing policy attracting more criticism from several telecom equipment makers. The telecom gear industry feels that India cannot promote local manufacturing without building a strong ecosystem of component suppliers targeting export markets.
India ARPU Q1 2018TRAI in the recent past could not take on telecom operators who support marketing agencies for sending unwanted messages or SMS or calls to India’s 1,150 million plus mobile phone subscribers. TRAI’s latest recommendation on using latest technology to block such calls and SMS received criticism from COAI.

The Indian telecom regulator is also alleged to have supported Reliance Jio during its launch phase in 2016 with free calls and data. The promotional offers have blocked the growth of Indian telecom operators such as BSNL, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, among others.

The consolidation has prompted several telecom operators to shut down their business or sell without receiving adequate returns.

TRAI made attempts to reduce call drops by punishing erring mobile operators. But TRAI could not support from the telecom operator community.

He has also pushed iPhone maker Apple to allow spam detection on the latest version of its iOS mobile operating software.

A cabinet panel approved the re-appointment of Sharma, a career bureaucrat, until September 30, 2020, according to a government statement on Thursday.

He has previously served as the first director general of Unique Identification Authority of India, a government body running the country’s biometrics-based national identity card system, Aadhaar.

The next few years of TRAI, under RS Sharma, will be challenging because Indian telecom operators are under pressure to improve quality of services and expand. Financial health of mobile service provider does not allow them to invest adequately.

Also, India’s national telecom policy 2018 has big targets to achieve with the support of phone operators. India in the past has missed targets of previous NTPs due to lack of funding from the government in telecom projects.

Baburajan K